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[Guilty Gear Esports] Guilty Gear Strive 2023, A Year of New Heights and Even Lower Lows!

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Guilty Gear Strive 2023, A Year of New Heights and Even Lower Lows!

Figure 1. Guilty Gear Strive

To say that Guilty Gear Strive is a massive sensation in the esports world would be an understatement as it has single-handedly revitalized the anime fighting game genre. But this did not come as a surprise to many as the game was developed and created by the like of Arcs Systems Works. One of the very few independent gaming studios that can match the quality and polish of major studios like SEGA and Bandai Namco. They are also the masterminds behind the massively successful Dragon Ball FighterZ, but unlike DBFZ Guilty Gear is their original IP. This means they could make changes to it as they saw fit, such as the retcon to many characters' back stories or even the removal of the iconic characters, just to add drama to the game. A tactic that seems to have worked out for the best as the game reached over 2.5 million sales and concurrent players in the summer of 2023. A number that is unfathomable considering the nature and genre of the game. This number also does not count the number of players that joined the games community due to its presence on the XBOX game pass.

[Image: guilty_gear_strive-character-1.jpg]
Figure 2. Guilty Gear Strive Character

Aside from that the game also features in EVO 2023 yet again this year and was able to draw in a crowd of over a million spectators for the finale. Strive also got some long-awaited characters added to the mix such as the infamous sea pirate Johnny, who added some much-needed zone control to deal with the more fast-paced attackers. And at the tail end of the year, we got  Elphelt Valentine a surprise for all the players as she was considered a more obscure character from the Xrd and Revelator series of games. Which caused many to ask, the simple question of why? Since she was not that famous with the majority of the current fanbase. Well, the answer is quite simple if one were to see the response of the community to the current changes made to the game. By community here I refer to the older fans who have supported the game since the early PS2 games. These fans now feel as if Arcs is moving away from the original vision of the series and has become beginner-friendly. A sentiment that is sadly proven true if one is to compare Strive with Xrd.

[Image: guilty_gear_strive-gameplay-1.jpg]
Figure 3. Guilty Gear Strive Gameplay

But now the development team finally seems to be addressing the issue by introducing new changes that are aimed specifically at the older fans. A valiant effort but, if they go down this route truly they will lose the more modern fans they have gotten and might fall into obscurity once again. While it is easy to say that Arcs should adapt both preferences of the fan groups into the game. It is at its core a flawed idea as the combat mechanics that make and break any fighting game can't be changed that easily. So now Arcs Systems Works stands at a crossroads, they can either go down the modern route and lose the legacy fans that have supported them throughout the ages. Or go down the opposite route and appease the older fans but lose a chance for the game to gain even more mainstream popularity. But who knows Arcs might surprise us all and carve their path and make the most of the best of both worlds. One thing nonetheless is that 2024 is going to be an important year for Guilty Gear as a franchise.

[Image: guilty_gear_strive-character-3-elphet.jpg]
Figure 4. Guilty Gear Strive Elphelt Valentine


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